What Today's College Freshmen Have Seen (Ver. 2)

While wondering why even the youth of today are behaving so aggressively and nastily towards those who express different opinions, I received a humorous little e-mail from a friend and co-worker. The point of the message was that the children starting college this fall were born in 1980 and went on to demonstrate the world since their birth.

Considering what the world has been like since 1980 has been, for me, an amazing opportunity to see where their role models have come from and what events have shaped their rather warped views of what is right and wrong.

Consider, since their births;

The role models they have been forced to emulate are such immoral or simply irrelevant figures as Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Oliver North, Michael Milken, Sylvester Stallone, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders.

They have never known a world without the act of love including the threat of a long, lingering, painful death from AIDS.

The most popular form of 90's music, gangsta rap, espouses the singer's desire to kill policemen, beat their girlfriends/wives(who they call "whores") and to commit various other violent crimes. Even what is called, wrongly, rock & roll speaks of suicide and self-mutilation.

The only war that they have had first hand experience with was the made for CNN/MTV Gulf War. They never witnessed the body of an American being tossed into a body bag nor seen an American stand in protest of another foolish war. In fact, they might honestly believe that an American President has the right to declare any other citizen "un-American" if they do stand up and protest, as Bush did in front of Congress and national TV. They probably believe that the mass annihilation of civilians by superior air power used against a third world nation is the honorable and proper method for the execution of America's foreign policy.

This generation has absolute faith in Wall Street and the stock market. They believe the nonsense that the business of America is business and that the individual is of little consequence. Few of them can even name the five liberties named in the Constitution's First Amendment and actually can state that one of them is the right to the "pursuit of wealth".

Their entire lives are examples of conspicuous consumption. Their idea of conservation is recycling aluminum cans. They have never sat in a line miles long waiting for a few gallons of fuel so they drive their four wheel drive gas guzzlers the few miles between work and home.

They see no irony in paying $200.00 for a pair of sneakers made by impoverished children in life threatening conditions for $2.40 a day. They see no irony in wearing clothes that cost hundreds of dollars that make them just free, walking, bill boards for huge corporations.

They have never lived in a time when the ideals of peace and love were anything but something to be ridiculed and laughed at.

They have never lived in a time when people were encouraged to think for themselves and to have opinions that were not in lock step with the lowest common denominator. They have never known a time when it wasn't considered a political debate to call others names and to label others whatever they find reprehensible at the time. They have never lived in a time without the meanness and lies of Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy and all the other spewers of hatred and division.

After considering what these children have had as examples and role models, it is fairly obvious why they behave so disgracefully towards others. While this sad fact stands as testament to the failures of the Reagan Revolution and beyond, it doesn't mean that we have to force our children to endure the same fate. We can still change the downward direction of our nation and furnish future generations of college students with a future filled with the love and respect we should all offer to one another. Will we? Yeah, right!

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Copyright 12/10/97